Serving God's People in Africa since 1868

Provide Water For School Children in East Africa

A few days ago, I was reviewing some of the letters that I have received from our missionaries working throughout Africa. Each of them, in their own humble way, was asking for help in getting worthwhile projects started or finished. Some of the letters ask for assistance with building projects — such as a new classroom for a school in a very rural part of East Africa. A letter from another missionary asks for help in providing food for children who have been orphaned because of diseases such as AIDS, typhoid, or tuberculosis. Still another letter asks for help in purchasing a generator so that a small mission can get the electricity it needs. There is so much to be done!


A few days ago, I was reviewing some of the letters that I have received from our missionaries working throughout Africa. Each of them, in their own humble way, was asking for help in getting worthwhile projects started or finished. Some of the letters ask for assistance with building projects — such as a new classroom for a school in a very rural part of East Africa. A letter from another missionary asks for help in providing food for children who have been orphaned because of diseases such as AIDS, typhoid, or tuberculosis. Still another letter asks for help in purchasing a generator so that a small mission can get the electricity it needs. There is so much to be done!

But then I recalled a story I once heard as a child. It was a story called “Stone Soup.” The details of the story are quite involved and I would need more space than is allowed here to share the entire tale. For the most part, though, the story explains the value of each person — and how each of us (whether we are aware of it or not) has something to offer in life . . . that if we work together, anything can be accomplished!

The story also teaches that there is one thing in life more valuable than anything else — more valuable than buildings, education, electricity or even food. That one thing is water.

Water is key to nearly everything we experience in our daily lives. Maybe that’s why God put so much of it on the earth. But despite the fact that 70% of the earth is covered by water, there are still millions of people who do not have enough of it to survive. That’s why I am writing to you.

Recently, I received a letter from Fr. Richard Buni, a priest who is working in Uganda in East Africa. Fr. Richard is in charge of the Immaculate Heart of Mary School that was built in Ocodri in northern Uganda.

“When we built the school three years ago,” Fr. Richard writes, “we had planned to construct a system for collecting rain water. There are several buildings already at the mission that can be used for collecting the rain as it runs off the roofs. The school building, church, rectory, parish hall — rainwater run-off can be collected from each of them.”

“Also,” he continues, “we have begun making bricks, getting sand, cement, stones and other material for the support for the water storage tanks. But we also need sheet metal, metal support rods, and lumber. The biggest items that we still need, though, are the storage tanks themselves as well as pipes and valves for finishing the entire system.”

“The children and the staff here struggle without an adequate, reliable source of drinking water. For three years we have been hoping to complete the rainwater harvesting system. Is there some way you can help us?”

Just as in the old story about “Stone Soup,” I am hoping that together — you, our missionaries, and the people of Ocodri — can work together to help complete the rainwater collection system.

My friend, clean water is such a critical resource in every community — not just in Africa but in our own communities here at home as well. There are ways that we can work to make sure the water in our own neighborhoods is protected. One thing we can do is to conserve water by doing something as simple as using a carwash instead of a garden hose (because many carwashes recycle their water). We can also make sure that we repair or replace leaky faucets in our homes. Little things — when done by many people — can make a huge difference.

You could also help by sending a donation so that Fr. Richard and the people of Ocodri can buy the bricks, sheet metal, pipes, valves and water storage tanks needed for the mission in Uganda. While I am hoping that we can raise at least $35,000 for the people of Ocodri and other water projects throughout our missions, please know that whatever amount you can send — large or small — will help thousands of men, women and children who struggle without a reliable source of clean drinking water every moment of every day. For whatever you can do — however you can help — please accept my sincere thanks! God bless you for your kindness.

 

Your Missionary Friend,

Denis P. Pringle
Director of Development